Should restaurant tipping be abolished?

 

There’s power in the tip, diners say. (Bita Honarvar/ Cox Newspapers)
There’s power in the tip, diners say. (Bita Honarvar/ Cox Newspapers)

Hey, big spender, can you imagine the day when your fat tips are no longer welcome at your favorite restaurant?

That day is near for customers of famed restaurateur Danny Meyer’s 13 New York eateries. Meyer, who is also founder of the popular Shake Shack chain, triggered a tidal wave of commentary when he announced recently that tipping would be eliminated at his Union Square Hospitality Group restaurants.

But would it work locally?

READ THE FULL STORY AT MYPALMBEACHPOST.COM

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Okeechobee Steakhouse marks 68th year with new addition

Okeechobee Steakhouse, West Palm Beach. (Thomas Cordy/ The Palm Beach Post)
Okeechobee Steakhouse, West Palm Beach. (Thomas Cordy/ The Palm Beach Post)

West Palm’s iconic Okeechobee Steakhouse celebrates its 68th year this month. And for the first time in 41 years, the restaurant has expanded. A new patio was debuted this week at the steakhouse’s western edge.

The addition comes after some summertime sprucing up of the longstanding restaurant.

(Madeline Gray/ The Palm Beach Post)
(Madeline Gray/ The Palm Beach Post)

Okeechobee Steakhouse: 2854 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach; 561-683-5151; OkeeSteakhouse.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

 

Critic’s pick: good beer and gastro pub grub in Delray Beach

Tryst, Delray Beach. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)
Tryst, Delray Beach. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)

South county pick: TRYST

Tryst in Delray Beach epitomizes the gastro pub concept with inspired plates, a free-wheeling selection of craft beers, boutique wines and cocktails and an eclectic setting for nightly dinner and drinks. (Check Tryst’s Facebook page for terrific nightly specials.)

A homey brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring some country-style breakfast items as well as burgers and sandwiches.

You may not know this, but there’s a bacon omelet with Vermont cheddar and sweet peppers calling your name.

Tryst: 4 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach; 561-921-0201; TrystDelray.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

 

Avocado Grill turns the “big 1” in downtown West Palm

Avocado Grill, West Palm Beach. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Avocado Grill, West Palm Beach. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

The lively Avocado Grill in downtown West Palm Beach is marking its first anniversary with a weekend-long celebration. Chef/owner Julien Gremaud is hosting a “Big ONE” party at 8 p.m. Friday, serving specialty drinks, a special menu, home-baked birthday cake and a helping of DJ-spun tunes on the side.

On Sunday, the chef hosts the “ONEderful Birthday Brunch,” starting at 11 a.m.

The menu is eclectic at Avocado Grill, Datura Street. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
The menu is eclectic at Avocado Grill, Datura Street. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

Reservations are strongly suggested for both days.

Avocado Grill: 125 Datura St., West Palm Beach; 561-623-0822; AvocadoGrillWPB.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

 

Critic’s pick: baklava and belly dancing in Northwood

A variety of mezze dishes are served at Agora Mediterranean Kitchen in the Northwood district of West Palm Beach. (LibbyVision.com)
Mezze madness at Agora Mediterranean Kitchen, West Palm Beach. (LibbyVision.com)

Central county pick: AGORA MEDITERRANEAN KITCHEN

Travel to Turkey without leaving this friendly eatery in West Palm Beach. Go the mezze route, dabbling in Aegean dips, dolma (stuffed grape leaves), grilled octopus and other small plates. Or feast on fish dishes such as red snapper in parchment, or a range of Mediterranean classics.

Salads are outstanding – and ample. Desserts are homemade. And if you over-do the calorie count on a Friday or Saturday night, you can always burn it off when the belly dancing starts at about 8 p.m.

Agora Mediterranean Kitchen: 2505 N. Dixie Highway, Northwood district, West Palm Beach; 561-651-7474; AgoraKitchenWPB.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

 

This Florida bar is among the world’s 50 best bars

Broken Shaker co-owner Elad Zvi mixes a cocktail in Miami Beach. The Broken Shaker was named the best hotel bar (Patrick Farrell/ The Miami Herald)
Broken Shaker co-owner Elad Zvi mixes a cocktail in Miami Beach. The Broken Shaker was named among the 50 best bars in the world. (Patrick Farrell/ The Miami Herald)

It’s not everywhere you can get a drink at one of the best bars in the world — while sitting in your bathing suit at the hotel pool.

But that’s exactly the case at the Broken Shaker in Miami Beach, which was recently named among the World’s 50 Best Bars, in a “Drinks International” poll of more than 400 voters worldwide. The Broken Shaker was ranked No. 14 on a list that includes bar from London to Singapore.

It’s yet another honor for a tiny bar wedged inside the Freehand Miami hostel, which opens up to a pool courtyard filled nightly with revelers, no matter the weather. In the heat, it’s bathing suits optional.

Earlier this summer, the Broken Shaker — which has been nominated for a James Beard Award, the highest honor in dining and spirits — won the title of Best American Hotel Bar at the international Spirited Awards in New Orleans.

 

Popular Cuban restaurant in West Palm Beach offers deals and freebies all week

Dina Rubio, owner of Don Ramon Cuban restaurant on Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Dina Rubio, owner of Don Ramon restaurant on Dixie Highway. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

Don Ramon, the Dixie Highway Cuban restaurant, has been celebrating its 25th year all week with a hot batch of specials.

To mark the big anniversary, the restaurant is serving up these freebees and deals:

On Tuesday, there’s complimentary flan. On Wednesday, enjoy free calamari bites. On Thursday, there’s a Cuban-style jam session with open mic, and mango rum tastings.

Friday is Family Night, when children 12 and younger eat free from the kids menu. On Saturday, there will be live music, dancers and mojito shots.

Don Ramon: 7101 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-547-8704; DonRamonRestaurant.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

 

Sweet 16: La Bonne Bouche celebrates milestone in Lake Worth

La Bonne Bouche Bistro in downtown Lake Worth offers a charming lunch setting complete with a babbling fountain. (Photo by LibbyVision.com)
La Bonne Bouche Bistro, downtown Lake Worth. (Photo by LibbyVision.com)

Sunday marks the sweet 16th birthday of La Bonne Bouche, the charming Lake Worth bakery and café, which opened with just five tables.

“It’s never easy for mom and pop businesses to survive in this busy corporate world today,” says Sara Regnier, who co-owns the shop with her husband, Chef Eric Regnier. “We really had to adjust and we’re still here.”

To celebrate this feat, the chef has been baking up a storm, making everything from brioche to pain au chocolat. (He’s even making his own raspberry jam.) To go with the confections, the Regniers are offering a free cup of coffee with the purchase of one croissant, Danish, almond croissant, brioche or pain au chocolat.

The offer is good until Nov. 16.

La Bonne Bouche: 516 Lucerne Ave., Lake Worth; 561-533-0840; LaBonneBouchePalmBeach.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

 

Kitchen eatery marks milestone in West Palm Beach

Aliza and Matthew Byrne own and operate Kitchen, West Palm Beach. (LILA PHOTO)
Aliza and Matthew Byrne own and operate Kitchen, West Palm Beach. (LILA PHOTO)

In its two short years on the scene, Kitchen has transformed a sleepy Dixie Avenue plaza into a buzzy meeting place for well-heeled locals, powerbrokers and celebrities. One should expect no less from chef/co-owner Matthew Byrne, who worked as private chef for Tiger Woods before opening the charming spot with his wife, Aliza Byrne.

This month, as Kitchen turns 2, chef Byrne has rolled out an updated menu of refined American comfort classics. (Like charred corn and crab cake with tomato-avocado relish, seared salmon with kale-corn-white bean succotash, and pan roasted double-cut pork chop with apple-ginger jam.)

A good way of savoring Kitchen’s highlights is to book the chef’s four-course tasting menu ($70 per person). The menu, which changes by season, is available to parties that book the eatery’s private chef’s table as well as larger parties in Kitchen’s more recently added Den space.

Kitchen: 319 Belvedere Rd., West Palm Beach; 561-249-2281; KitchenPB.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

 

Critic’s pick: nice-price wines at Lake Park’s Pelican Café

A selection of wines inside The Pelican Cafe in Lake Park on May 16, 2014. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
The Pelican Cafe, Lake Park. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)

North county pick: PELICAN CAFÉ

The owners of Lake Park’s charming Pelican Café have returned from vacation in a generous mode. After a short break, they reopened the eatery last week with a terrific “fall back” deal:

All wines by the glass or bottle are half-price through the end of October. The café’s wine selection offers spot-on pairings for the Pelican’s Italian-centric menu.

Bonus: Dine between 5 and 6 p.m. and get 20 percent off your entire check. Reservations are strongly suggested for dinner. Closed Mondays. See full hours on the café’s website.

Pelican Café: 612 US Highway 1, Lake Park; 561-842-7272; ThePelicanCafe.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda